• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Stevenson explore duality in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How does Stevenson explore duality in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde? The idea of duality, in this case, of people displaying duality of character, being "two faced", of showing contrasting sides to a person, was of much interest to people in the late 19th century, due to the way it reflected upon their society, and was a key concept of Gothic literature written at the time. In this essay, I shall see how Stevenson explores this, the techniques and methods he uses, and the way in which he shows us how duality is significant in Victorian society. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was one of the first novels to re-introduce the Gothic literary genre, and thus has several elements that are common to other Gothic novels, which I shall explore in this chapter. With Gothicism being a genre of horror fiction, almost all Gothic novels have some kind of monster as the antagonist. Mr Hyde, although generally regarded as human (a point which I will explore further later on), is quite obviously a monster in the original sense, that is, a being of pure evil and sadism. He is described as a repulsive, grotesque person, for example, by Mr Enfield: "There is something wrong with his appearance; something displeasing, something downright detestable ... ...read more.

Middle

in this case necessarily good or bad, exposing their duality, for example with Dr Jekyll, who, although he obviously hates Hyde for his crimes, still continues to crave becoming him for the purposes of expressing his desires. Another technique Stevenson uses is symbolism, mostly in the form of weather, for example, the city streets were filled with smog when Hyde was out, and in chapters 2 and 4, where Utterson and others are trying to find Mr Hyde, there is a thick early-morning fog. This, although common in London at the time, still had associations of secrecy and obscurity, as it was the domain of people like Jack the Ripper, and therefore the perfect setting for the crimes of Mr Hyde. As well as weather, Stevenson used the symbolism of doors and windows also as metaphors for secrecy. For instance, in Jekyll's laboratory, it is always behind the closed cabinet door that he transforms into Hyde, and it is only when this door is broken down that the mystery is solved. Also, when Utterson and Enfield go to speak with Jekyll in Incident at the Window, the window serves as a barrier between Utterson and the truth that Jekyll hides. To understand how the book as a whole expresses duality, it is important to understand how contemporary readers would have viewed and reacted to the book. ...read more.

Conclusion

This shows once again the idea of having a private life, kept hidden and separate from your public life, which is what Carew appears to be doing. Finally, there is Dr Jekyll. Throughout the book he is described as a good man, who was respectable, admired by his friends, as someone seen as nearly perfect by Victorian standards. However, beneath the public face we can see that his fascination with Mr Hyde is not purely scientific. Once he has experienced what it is like to be in Hyde's body, he begins to crave it more, this is because, through Hyde, he can do things that are completely unacceptable, even by modern standards. The book suggests that, as well as murder, he practised many sexual perversions, and similar acts. This shows how a man can fall and become a lesser human, as noted before, and that this is achieved by science. At the time, people believed in the idea that humanity could reach a peak level, and then devolve, becoming ape-like once again, Jekyll and Hyde could be seen as a metaphor for this. As you can see, Stevenson uses these characters effectively as well a wide variety of literary techniques and in the style of a Gothic novel to explore duality and how it relates to society at the time. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Robert Louis Stevenson section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Robert Louis Stevenson essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    How and why does Stephenson explore the duality of man(TM)s nature in Strange case ...

    3 star(s)

    Hyde could be a representation of what is in all of us, the secret lusts which we all have. Sigmund Freud said that we are all bad people and we only pretend to be good. And it seems with Hyde that he just stopped pretending.

  2. How does Robert Louis Stevenson explore the duality of human nature in Dr Jekyll ...

    he has learned, or what he thinks he has learned, rather than bring ruin upon his good friend. Robert Louis Stevenson, the author, raised in a very religious way could be one of the reasons that he chose to write this novella, as a way of rebelling like many at

  1. How does Stevenson Discuss and Reflect Victorian Society and Culture in the Strange Case ...

    This is exemplified in the novel by the dingy and dark setting. For example, Stevenson says that there were heavy "pea souper" fogs and much of the story occurs at nighttime in eerie locations such as the run-down Soho area.

  2. How does Stevenson explore the duality of human nature in the strange case of ...

    You are also revealed to his short temper from the phrase 'all of a sudden' which portrays the fact that the murder was probably unprovoked. His murder of Mr Carew was in no way calculated or even intelligent, it was just pure, unstructured evil.

  1. How Stevenson uses his techniques as a writer to present character and atmosphere in ...

    Mr Enfield is the opposite of Mr Utterson, so it is peculiar that they are so close and even friends. They have bonded because of their different opinions and personality. This is duality between the two characters; Mr Utterson is slightly withdrawn, where as Mr Enfield is 'the well known

  2. How does Stevenson explore the theme of duality in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?

    to be little prostitution taking place in London as supposedly there would be no customers, but quite on the contrary there was a mass number of prostitutes roaming around street corners during the evenings and at night and making a good living out of it, and, judging by the average

  1. Discuss the idea of duality in "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. ...

    Jekyll), he is, therefore, symbolically represented as being much smaller than Dr. Jekyll - Jekyll's clothes are far too large for him--and Hyde is also many years younger than Jekyll, symbolically suggesting that the evil side of Jekyll did not develop until years after he was born and which has also been suppressed, prevented from growing and flourishing.

  2. Jekyll and Hyde chapter by chapter summary.

    some time, a continually metamorphosing creature who is alternately Jekyll and than Hyde. In this chapter, the full name of Mr. Utterson is also revealed: John Gabriel Utterson, which has additional significance. Gabriel is one of the four archangels, usually given the role of a divine messenger.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work